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Sports-Related Concussions Pose Serious Risk

Posted Jul 28 2009 12:19am

by Kevin E. Crutchfield, M.D., Director, Comprehensive Sports Concussion Program, The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute

With the school sports season gearing up, remember that sports-related concussions are a risk for athletes.

Concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury, and repeated concussions can cause cumulative brain damage or severe complications, or second-impact syndrome. Someone who has sustained an initial brain injury and then sustains another before symptoms associated with the first have fully cleared is at risk for second-impact syndrome.

Concussion in school-aged athletes is an under-recognized health risk; those who experience concussion are at long-term risk of persistent health problems and diminished lifelong potential. Although 1 in 10 athletes reports suffering a concussion during the athletic season, we have no guidelines regarding when it is safe for the young athlete to return to competition. But hitting the field too early after an injury will place him or her at increased risk of permanent brain damage.

The severity of a concussive injury must be determined by an expert in the field of brain injury. At The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute, an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals provides the clinical evaluation, neurologic and neuropsychologic evaluations, neuroimaging tests such as CT and MRI, and excellent care necessary to evaluate, diagnose, and treat head injury.

To learn more, call 410-601-WELL and visit us at
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